MES 325 • ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES AND ISRAELI SOCIETY
8:00 AM-9:00 AM
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is an important part of Israeli society. In many ways, it mirrors the main social conflicts Israel continues to address as it begins its seventh decade as a modern state. This course will begin by surveying these social dilemmas, including the main rifts in Israel society and the characteristics of Israel as a consociational democracy. With this background, we will then examine the tole the IDF plays in Israeli society. Besides its military tasks, the IDF often acts as a 'melting pot' and is instrumental in state-sponsored education, religious programs, settlement policy and the treatment of minorities. It is also used to define what Israeli citizenship means and the limits of gender equality. Conversely, the IDF is not only a tool of the state, but influences Israeli society and is a factor in the changes this society is undergoing. During the second half of the course we will explore theories of militarization in Israeli society as well as the effects on the IDF of Israel's ongoing shift from collective to individualistic ideals. The course will utilize secondary material in English, as well as translated primary sources from Hebrew.
Class participation 30% Assignments 40% Exams 30%
Yagil Levy, Israel's materialist militarism Stuart A Cohen, Israel and its army